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How to Nurture Relationships Through Your Social Calendar It’s odd how easily your most important relationships can slip away in a supposedly more connected world. It’s undeniable that advancements in technology, such as the internet and social media,...

By Angela Ruth

This story originally appeared on Calendar

It’s odd how easily your most important relationships can slip away in a supposedly more connected world. It’s undeniable that advancements in technology, such as the internet and social media, brought new ways for people to interact. Yet these advancements have also made life much busier. And with so many obligations for you to meet, “optional” relationships tend to slip through the cracks.

Yet the truth is that your relationships and relationships themselves are not optional. Humans are social creatures, so people need healthy relationships with others to live fulfilling lives. The thing is, if you don’t actively tend to your relationships, you will drift apart from the people you care for. As necessary and fun as they can be, good relationships take work. And you need to make sure you’re doing your part.

Here’s how you can take your relationships off the backburner and how your calendar may be the key.

Make Your Relationships a Priority

Take stock of your current relationships. Which feels the strongest, the weakest, and which falls somewhere in between? With this in mind, determine which relationships you’d like to improve. Perhaps you’ve grown distant from a critical friend, or work has distracted you from your partner for too long. No matter who it is, improving your relationship with them is now a priority.

Making someone your priority means actively making space and time for them in your life. For example, most people go through phases of being more or less physically active. New Year’s is a common time when people decide they want to prioritize fitness again. The most successful (read: consistent) gym returnees are those who actually block out time on their schedule to do so. The same is true of making your relationships a priority — block out time for phone calls, meetups, and more.

During this contemplative process, you may discover that some relationships aren’t serving you anymore. Growing out of some relationships is a natural part of life and actually signals growth on your end. Some people are only meant to be part of your life for so long, perhaps for some purpose. And you simply can’t give all of your attention to everybody. So, cutting out relationships that aren’t serving you anymore will provide you with more space to focus on the ones that do.

Rely on Your Calendar

It’s one thing to intend to make time and space for people in your schedule. It’s another to actually look at that schedule, block out the time, and commit to it. Don’t just think, “Oh, I’ll make time Monday evening to call friends.” Because a Monday evening friend call isn’t part of your routine, you’ll be more likely to neglect your new intention. Or it may be first on the chopping block when, after work, you feel too tired, busy, etc.

Don’t leave the fate of your relationships up to chance or the whim of your emotions. Instead, talk with the person you want to plan with, open your calendars, and book the date. For added consistency, enable reminders to ensure all parties remember this new, upcoming plan. While excitement can run high when making plans, that excitement can fade into forgetfulness if a plan is too distant from today. Reminders will help everyone involved maintain this relationship as a priority in the days and weeks ahead.

The busier people are, the more they tend to rely on external planning tools to inform their daily decisions. Rather than shy away from scheduling tools, lean into them and use them to your advantage. Use a digital calendar like Calendar.com or Google Calendar that you can share with people who are important to you. The chief advantage of a shared calendar is that everyone can see everyone else’s schedules. This way, you can schedule activities more easily together and minimize the chances of double or overbooking.

Brainstorm Activities

With all this talk of plans, it’s finally time to get to the good part — the activities! Remember that part of relationship upkeep is actually spending time together. Sure, you may want to catch up with an old friend, but how often will you catch up before there’s nothing left to discuss? Think about some of the most meaningful experiences you’ve had with other people. They probably don’t involve simply “catching up” — they’re the times you did something unforgettable together.

Think of common interests you and this vital person share and what kind of activities you both would enjoy. Perhaps you and your friend are on the nerdier side and would enjoy a fun game night together. Or, if you’re trying to rekindle the flame with a partner, what restaurants or events would make for a romantic date? If family is your priority, draw on old traditions and experiences to help reforge your bonds.

There’s a good chance one or more of the people you want to connect with don’t live near you anymore. They may not even live in the same time zone, but, thankfully, you can take advantage of today’s technology. Where social media has created many social rifts, tech like video games and video calls can bring people together. You could boot up a game to spend time in the digital world or meet weekly for a book club. You may be surprised to find how effective digital systems are at helping maintain real-life relationships.

Plan a Vacation

Whether you live near or far, wherever you are, you could take a vacation together. Imagine going on a shared experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Taking a vacation with someone else also has the added benefit of potentially being less expensive. When you travel with someone else, you can save on numerous costs, especially when booking a room. This can reduce the stress that comes with the finances of vacation-taking.

People on vacation also tend to be a bit more present than they are in day-to-day life. They want to make the most of this limited time, which can make the time together feel more meaningful. This does wonders for forging and reinforcing the bond you share with someone else. The shared, relaxed vacation time can also provide more opportunities for vulnerability. The more vulnerable and open you can be with someone, the greater chance you have to deepen that relationship.

All that said, planning an entire vacation can be a logistical challenge on the front end. This is where your digital calendar will come to the rescue once again. You can leverage a shared calendar and its reminders as mentioned previously. You can also assign tasks to everyone planning the trip to make your preparations more equitable. That way, once the vacation is in full swing, everyone can know they’ve done their part to make it happen.

Live Well Together

For most people, relationships are the bedrock of their lived experience. Humans, as a deeply social species, have only made it this far in life thanks to their relationships. So it makes sense that you would want to improve yours. The better your relationships are, the more fulfillment and satisfaction you’ll likely feel.

The thing is, organizing people in today’s busy world can be incredibly challenging. That’s why you should take advantage of a digital calendar to do much of the heavy lifting. With the logistics nailed down and out of the way, you can take full advantage of the time you share with the people you love.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Roberto Nickson; Pexels

The post How to Nurture Relationships Through Your Social Calendar appeared first on Calendar.

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